Posted on behalf of HOCO APFO.
Join the rally to keep kids first in Howard County
Monday, Sept. 11 @ 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the
George Howard Building
3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City, Maryland.
Please stay after the rally to attend the Special Legislative Hearing!
When Developers Win, Kids Lose
Worried about redistricting? Confused as to why schools have become so overcrowded?
Wondering when schools will be built to accommodate all the new developments?
Howard County’s premier school system is facing a never-ending cycle of overcrowding, redistricting, repeat. Neighborhoods get ping-ponged from one school district to another and back again. The current redistricting proposal is one of the school system’s largest with up to 8,800 students, the equivalent of 16 percent of the total student population county-wide, being reassigned. Moving students and families from one school to another is a big ask and it should come with a commitment from the County Executive that new school capacity will be added to accommodate the expanding student population. But capacity isn’t keeping up!
Put Kids First, Not Developers’ Profits
The county uses the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) to control growth in the county. Among its many regulations, the APFO opens and closes areas to development based on capacity in the schools. The current APFO has failed in controlling school overcrowding. As a result, the school system is undergoing a disruptive redistricting process to equalize student enrollment across the county. County Executive Allan Kittleman has proposed changes to the APFO that are currently being considered by the County Council. But these two bills (CB 60 & 61) continue to favor developers over students. We are asking parents who are worried about redistricting to focus on the root cause. Redistricting is no way to manage a successful Howard County or ensure a strong school system. APFO needs to be stronger!
The Problem With APFO
The growth tests that the county uses in its current APFO are weak and favor developers not students. The mitigation and impact fees that underwrite capital projects, like school construction, are below fair market values and leave the county underfunded when it comes to public infrastructure investment. Proposed APFO legislation (CB61 & CB 62) continues to favor development. And the current redistricting proposal will open up areas to new developments and create yet another era of overcrowding.
What is required?
Mobilize HoCo Schools and many other grassroots and parent groups are advising that Council Bill 61 be amended with specific provisions to more fairly and equitably balance well-planned growth and effective mitigation for our public infrastructure. Specifically:
- School capacity limits — INCLUDING high schools — to be set at 100 percent. Schools are closed to new development at that level.
- Mitigation (funding, additional time, or both) begins when a school reaches 95 percent capacity.
- NO reductions to the current wait time for housing allocations or school tests.
- APFO needs to be reviewed every four years.
- Increase real estate transfer tax by 1.0 percent.
- APFO needs to include measures for public safety, emergency services, recreation, and other community facilities.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO LEARN?
- Join Mobilize HoCo Schools Facebook group to watch for community action steps.
- Learn more about APFO by following the HOCO APFO Facebook page.
MOST IMPORTANTLY….. HOW DO YOU GET HEARD?
- Show up for the 5pm Rally & 6pm Legislative Meeting Monday, Sept. 11.
Written Testimony (Download the template for instructions.)
Sign Up To Testify During the Legislative Meeting – 3 minutes to speak
- Go to www.howardcountymd.gov.
- Click the County Council Link in the upper right corner .
- Click the Testify link in the blue tool bar .
- Step 1 – Select “Special Legislative Public Hearing – CB60, CB61, CB62”.
- Step 2 – Select “CB61-207 and CB62-2017.
- Step 3 – Create an account with an email address and password.
- Step 4 – Verify your address Step 5 – Select “undeclared” from the dropdown.
- Step 6 – Click Submit.
WEAR YELLOW TO SHOW WE ARE ONE UNITED VOICE! “STRONGER APFO – STRONGER HOCO”